Chrome Rainbow from ‘Lake O’

This drawing depicts Josh’s first Rainbow Trout of the season – a bar of gleaming chrome that hit a garish green lure on a grey day at Lake Otamangakau.

Rather than write about the artistic process behind the sketch I thought I’d simply show you instead. I took a series of photographs that include initial sketches and various stages through the final drawing.

A fitting memento to a fantastic fish.

Early concept sketches
Early concept sketches
Drawing underway
Drawing underway
Drawing nearing completion
Drawing nearing completion
Chrome Rainbow Trout from Lake O
Chrome Rainbow Trout from Lake O


Copyright Notice – all artwork on the Wilderness Trout website is protected under copyright and must not be used in any way without the express written permission of James Barnett.


Fish & Game Withdraw from Forum

irrigation system
Fish & Game resign from the Land and Water Forum so they can once again independently advocate for freshwater in NZ.

On the back of recent disappointing news about the quality of freshwater in NZ (revealed in the Government’s Environment Aotearoa 2015′ report), fly fishermen now have to face up to the implications of the withdrawal of Fish & Game New Zealand from the most significant collaborative body responsible for driving the process of freshwater reform in this country – The Land and Water Forum.

Fish & Game Chief Executive Bryce Johnson said changes to the Forum’s rules around membership and restrictions on the ability to speak out had “essentially compelled us to resign”.

“After five years its now clear the Government’s goals all along have been about natural resource development, not about environmental protection. They make the growth strategies, and add on the end the words ‘within environmental limits’.”

“This process is more superficial than substantial. For industry, it’s ideal to have all the environmental groups neatly corralled inside the tent, inside the process,” Johnson observed.

While leaving the Land and Water Forum will now allow Fish & Game to once again independently advocate for our freshwater resources, it must be a serious concern for anyone interested in water quality, that the process responsible for safeguarding our waterways could be so seriously flawed.

Of the 150 recommendations already made by the Forum over the last five years the Government still has not identified an implementation plan. In fact many have accused the Government of simply ‘cherry picking’ recommendations to suit their agenda.

Environment Minister Nick Smith responded saying he was not surprised by Fish and Games’ departure, but he was disappointed. Dr Smith said a ‘good number’ of the forum’s recommendations had been acted on.

“I don’t have the exact list in front of me… what I can say is that simplistically counting off the numbers does not give due respect to the really important recommendations around national policy statements, around the National Objectives Framework, around the funding for cleanups, around putting in place a reporting system around the quality of our freshwater, most of those have been implemented.”

So where to from here for the Forum and the quality of freshwater in New Zealand? The Government really needs to respond positively and deliver substantive practical change that results in improved water quality. It needs to fully embrace the founding principles of the Forum and deliver outcomes that satisfy the long term social, recreational and economic benefits of clean freshwater.

You can hear Fish & Game CEO Bryce Johnson speak about the withdrawal in an interview on Radio New Zealand >

James Barnett

Environment Report 2015

Most trout fishermen will be interested in understanding more about the quality of freshwater in New Zealand. However they might be a little unsettled to read a report recently released by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand.

A landmark national environmental report – Environment Aotearoa 2015 – reveals the overall state of our environment. While some environmental indicators are looking positive, the same can’t be said for the quality of the water in many of our rivers.

Government Statistician Liz MacPherson said the report gives a clear and independent overview, based on the best-quality information available.“Environment Aotearoa 2015 tells us the shape our environment is in – from the atmosphere above New Zealand to our oceans, and everything in between.”

Secretary for the Environment Vicky Robertson said the report provides a candid view showing where things are improving and where our environment is under pressure. An area showing clear improvement is carbon monoxide emissions from transport, which are declining. Overfishing in our seas and harmful airborne particles released from home heating are also declining.

The report finds deterioration for areas like coastal sea-level rise, concentrations of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, populations of some native plants and animals, and river water quality from intensive land use.

“New Zealanders’ past and present activities are putting pressures on our environment,” Ms Robertson said. “These pressures are growing as our population increases, our economy develops, and our lifestyles change.”

“The evidence in this report will help communities, central and local government, iwi, and business to make choices about how we manage our natural resources.”

The report uses robust data from hundreds of sources, and follows international best practice for environmental reporting. The report is supported by interactive web pages containing trend and regional data.

Environment Aotearoa 2015 was produced in the spirit of the Environmental Reporting Act passed on 24 September. Future reports will be part of a three-year cycle, in which individual aspects of the environment are assessed as well as an overview, such as Environment Aotearoa 2015. The next report focuses on fresh water and will be released next year.

See the key findings and background from the Government’s website.

See also:
Environment Aotearoa 2015 – report
Environment Aotearoa 2015 – infographic
Environmental indicators Te taiao Aotearoa – indicator webpages

James Barnett
(Quotes were taken from official gov media release)